Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement

Article excerpt

Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement. Donald E. Miller and Tetsunao Yamamori. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 2007. Pp. 263, with DVD. $60 / £35; paperback $24.951 £14.95.

It is now widely recognized that Pentecostalism, in its myriad forms, is the fastest growing religious movement in the world. Within this swiftly spreading wave another, less noticed surge is developing, one made up of thousands of Pentecostal churches that are engaged in a variety of social programs in their communities. Donald Miller, a sociologist who directs the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California, andTetsunaoYamamori,presidentemeritus of Food for the Hungry International, call it "progressive Pentecostalism" and beUeve it is the leading edge of Pentecostalism, especially in the non-Western world. For four years they traveled around the globe to investigate this cresting breaker, crisscrossing Africa, Asia, and Latin America, interviewing hundreds of people, and observing outreach efforts to drug addicts in Hong Kong, sex workers in Bangkok and Calcutta, babies with AIDS in several places, and dozens of other programs.

The result of their investigation is an informative and highly readable account that puts faces and names on what is quickly becoming the major expression of Christianity around the globe. One example is Jackie Pullinger, whose ministry to heroin addicts in Hong Kong succeeds by relying on the Holy Spirit, forgoing modern management methods and a fund-raising staff. …

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